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I was new to this CLS technology from Nikon and wanting to make full use of this technology. Unfortunately recently I just bought a Sunpak ring flash and it does not support CLS function. May I know is there any extension modules to be able to use my ring flash as part of the CLS so it can fire off from my main camera?

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Is this a fashion type ringflash or one designed for macro photography? And do you intend to use it for portraits or macro? – Matt Grum Dec 27 '10 at 9:40
@Matt this is a fashion type ringflash. I intend to use for portrait. – Digital Dude Dec 27 '10 at 9:48
up vote 1 down vote accepted

I've assumed that you're probably only talking about triggering as it's unlikely that there is anything out there that can do a CLS to generic TTL. You have several options depending on what other equipment you're shooting with.

  1. Use a PC Sync cord to hotshoe adapter from a PC Sync socket on your camera or flash that is being triggered by CLS.
  2. Use a cable such as the SC28 / SC29 to connect the sunpack to the hotshoe via cable. Ensure that you check that the voltage of the SunPack won't ruin your SLR first though. There are step down voltage converters that sit in your hotshoe for this.
  3. Use either an optical slave or radio popper that attaches to your camera's hotshoe to trigger the ring flash. Often these allow a flash to be attached atop the trigger. Use a flash that supports being used as a CLS master (e.g. SB700, SB800, SB900) to trigger your other CLS flashes. Search your favourite Auction or photographic supplier's website for cheap versions of these devices.
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No, but both Metz and Sigma offer flashes which are compatible with the Nikon wireless flash system. They work differently — Sigma's acts as a controller, while Metz's works as one of the slaves, controlled by the on-camera flash.

I don't think you're going to have any options with the flash you have. While there are now some radio triggers (from PocketWizard and maybe others) that can transmit Nikon's proprietary TTL protocol, they require the flash itself to speak the protocol already. And even if that would work, you'd end up with a rather unwieldy bunch of connectors plugging it all together.

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thanks may I know what is it called? I need it to use with my ring flash. – Digital Dude Dec 27 '10 at 5:03
Sorry, I wasn't quite clear. These are third-party ring flashes that are compatible with the Nikon system. They won't help with your Sunpak flash. – mattdm Dec 27 '10 at 5:21
pocket wizard is one option but I would really hope if i can make use of the CLS. :/ Getting pocket wizard defeat the rest of the purpose. – Digital Dude Dec 27 '10 at 8:21
Pocket wizards only transmit CLS signals, you still need a CLS aware flash which yours most likely isn't I'm afraid. What aspect of CLS were you hoping to benefit from? – Matt Grum Dec 27 '10 at 9:42
Thanks for the confirmation. – mattdm Dec 27 '10 at 15:39

Not sure if it would work for your situation... but I have a Ray Flash attached to my SB-600 that I fire off via CLS. The infrared signals are usually bouncy enough that the sensor can pick it up, even behind the "down" part of the Ray Flash.

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I know those ray flashes should work but what I have the problem now is the ringflash which I currently have does not work. I need a solution for this. thanks. – Digital Dude Dec 29 '10 at 3:21

Will you be firing other flashes that do have CLS? If so, your best-bet answer is probably to get an "optical slave" trigger that you can plug in to the Sunpak.

There are a variety of options at a variety of prices... Here's B&H's selection of optical slaves to give you an idea. A quick search also turns up other sources and information... including options for about US$13. If you have a good ("pro") camera store in your area, they're sure to have at least a few of these on hand, for significantly less than a pair of PocketWizards.

There are some complications with this methodology, depending on your situation (read some articles from that search for full details), e.g. pre-flash triggering (some optical slaves claim to account for that), making sure the slave can "see" other flashes, etc. However, I'm guessing that for your situation, this could work quite well. I know I've had good luck with a little flash I have that has an optical slave built in, as long as I'm cognizant of positioning of its "eye" relative to my other strobes.

Also, there are other radio slave options than PocketWizard. In some circumstances, and depending on your demands, at least some of them can be quite adequate. (That said, I've gone to PocketWizard, myself. So, your results may vary.)

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